Samantha Fish: Wild Heart

The Kansas City star brews some potent country blues.

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Although the received wisdom in the music business maintains that the second album is the tricky one, record three can be the moment that reveals whether an artist will evolve or not.

With Wild Heart, Samantha Fish refuses to play it safe. She hinted at her country influences with Last September from her 2013 album Black Wind Howlin’, but this time she pours a double shot of country into her blues and slugs it down in one.

Recorded with Luther Dickinson from the North Mississippi Allstars and ex of The Black Crowes, the record moves between the stomping rockers that built Fish’s reputation and acoustic songs tapping into Delta and hill country blues. Even in electric mode, there’s plenty of twang in the opening track Road Runner, while Highway’s Holding Me Now suggests country superstar Miranda Lambert at her feisty finest./o:p

Dickinson’s vibrant production captures the excitement of musicians playing live together, and gives the music space to breathe. The exquisite ballad Go Home has the sweet, sad longing of Holly Williams (granddaughter of Hank), and Fish effortlessly inhabits a cover of Charley Patton’s Jim Lee Blues Part 1 featuring a guest spot from Lightnin’ Malcolm on guitar.

As a performer, Fish has never been afraid to step outside of her comfort zone – she’s blasted through Black Sabbath’s War Pigs live – and the boldness and range of Wild Heart mark her as one of the most exciting young blues artists around./o:p